On July 26, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by RYO Cigar Association, Inc. (“RYO”) and New Image Global, Inc. (“New Image”) seeking an injunction against enforcement of a regulation issued by the Boston public commission banning the sale of cigar wraps in Boston.  RYO and New Image challenged the regulation on the grounds the regulation is arbitrary and capricious, violates the equal protection rights of African-American males, and conflicts with state and federal laws governing controlled substances.  The appellate court rejected each of these arguments, finding that “the regulation is a permissible exercise of the commission’s expansive authority to safeguard public health and is constitutional in its origins and operation.  The regulation is rationally related to its permissible purpose of protecting residents of Boston, particularly young residents, from the harmful effects of tobacco use.”  The court seemed to find particularly compelling the lower court’s finding that underage sales of cigars and cigar wraps in the state were double the rate of underage cigarette sales, and that the marketing strategies used by cigar wrap manufacturers specifically targeted youth.  RYO and New Image have 20 days from the appellate court’s ruling to file an application for leave to obtain further review of the case by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

For questions and/or comments, please contact Bryan Haynes, at 804.697.1420 or by email.